[FR] A year of night photography, by Renaud Chodkowski

When I was a teenager, I was used to reading a French magazine named “Voies Ferrées”. The 80s were the of golden age for paper magazines about trains. One article caught my attention. It was just amazing: photographer Jean-Marc Frybourg spent nights along tracks, especially on the Paris to Dijon line, and took pictures of trains with flashes. The result was surreal. In fact, night was (and in a way still is) a forbidden territory to train photographers.

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I finally decided to begin the adventure with two speed-light flashes (Yongnuo YN560-III). The investment was not so important and this was a great setting to start and to learn this new way to take pictures. On the 09th September 2015, I finally set my lights along the Dijon to Toul line. The number of trains running at night on this line allowed me to do many tests (playing with the power of the light, trying different the settings of the camera).

I was really happy when the first picture appeared on the back screen on my Sony camera. I jumped of happiness: I could do it! But it was only the beginning and when looked on my computer screen, pictures had a lot of imperfections. Since that day, I’ve spent hours in the dark along the tracks, trying different light configurations or different picture compositions.

One year later, I am still learning but the quality of my pictures drastically increased. I am now able to bring back great pictures from my night photo-sessions. I’m now working to improve the composition of the images and to use the infinite possibilities offered by the ability to place the light sources where I want.

09.09.2015 – BB26112 pulling the intermodal train number 41263 from Vénissieux to Duisburg.
29.09.2015 – The BB27015 is pulling a steel product train from Spain to Germany.
08.12.2015 – This “Akiem gray” colored BB37033 is leased to VFLI. It is seen ahead of an intermodal train to Lyon.
05.01.2016 – This colourful Europorte E37501 is pulling a propane train from the South of France.
19.03.2016 – A TGV Dasye unit (29727) is pictured running on a late service from Nice to Metz.
19.04.2016 – An Euro Cargo Rail Traxx (186 316) is pulling a mixed freight train (Railnet service) from Dijon-Gevrey to Germany.
14.05.2016 – The BB26188 (Sybic) is seen at dawn pulling an intermodal train from Spain to Germany.